On Monday, Richard Seymour was announced as the newest addition to the Patriots Hall of Fame. Drafted sixth-overall in the 2001 NFL Entry Draft, Seymour made an immediate impact as a rookie, helping lead New England to their first title. He'd be a big part of three more Super Bowl trips, including two more championships, in his eight-year Patriots career.
"When I first got the news, it was an opportunity and a time for me to reflect," said Seymour on a video conference with reporters after his selection. "I thought back to the day I was drafted and my mom and my dad and my family all being there. You just think about all of the hard work it took just to be drafted, now to be considered a Patriots Hall of Famer, it's a tremendous honor."
Seymour marks the 30th addition to the Hall, and the latest three-time Super Bowl winner, joining Troy Brown (2012), Tedy Bruschi (2013), Kevin Faulk (2016), Ty Law (2014), Matt Light (2018) and Willie McGinest (2015). Those teammates were formative in helping Seymour make the jump to the NFL and he was quick to point out the standard that they established.
"When you say those names I think about the ultimate competitors," reflected Seymour on his former teammates that he would join in the Hall. "The attention to detail, the hard work that they put in, you knew they were going to be ready. You never wanted to let your teammates down. We all took it very serious but we had a good time as well."
Seymour arrived before the Patriots were a dynasty and witnessed firsthand how their short-term focus slowly sprouted into multiple championships.
"We were coming off a 5-11 [record], but one thing Coach Belichick always preached, 'what happened last year really doesn't matter,'" relayed Seymour. "I think that's why we had continued success. For us, it was about going out and competing at a high level. It was a veteran-laden team and they really taught me the ins and outs and how to take care of my body and doing all the little things to be a true professional. I truly enjoyed the game of football. Everything that Coach Belichick, Romeo Crennel, Pepper Johnson... it was just a wealth of knowledge that I was coming into.
"There was no Super Bowl talks at the time. We were just trying to go out and win games and we just strung enough together. Before you know we found ourselves in a really good spot. We capitalized on it throughout the playoffs that year."
As a movable chess piece in the Patriots defense, Seymour didn't rack up the gaudy stats that might've already landed him in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Instead, he sacrificed those stats for the ultimate goal of winning championships, dominating the line of scrimmage from a number of spots and winning the most respect from the offensive linemen he battled against.
"At the end of the day, as a competitor, the bottom line for us is about winning," said Seymour. "Whatever it took to win, or whatever it takes to win at any cost, that's what you're willing to do. They needed me to play nose guard which I did, to defensive end to defensive tackle, I was willing to do that. We had a saying, it wasn't about the amount of Pro Bowls or the All Pros you made, at the end of the day we wanted to hoist the trophy."
Despite spending his final four seasons in Oakland, Seymour had nothing but respect for Coach Bill Belichick and the Patriots organization, a place he found himself fortunate to spend eight outstanding seasons.
"The team that drafted me," responded Seymour what asked what came to mind when he thought of the Patriots. "A champion doing things the right way. Leadership. It's the organization that is built the right way in my opinion. Strong ownership, loyal fan group and a coach that is second to none. It was a honor for me to be drafted there. Of all the places you can go in the National Football League, you want to go where everyone takes it serious."